Johanna Konta’s astonishing run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open was finally halted by seventh seeded German Angelique Kerber, with the Brit losing 7-5 6-2 in a relatively one-sided semi-final.
It was Konta’s slow start in the first set which let her down, but in general both ladies played some sublime tennis, with Kerber just edging the majority of the rallies to usher Konta out of the competition.
Konta was broken twice in the first three games of the opening set, unable to truly find her rhythm and suffering from a swift start from the German. Konta bit back though, with a break for 3-1 and again for 3-3, before a hold took her into the lead for the first time in the match at 4-3.
The players held serve until 5-5, and then Kerber cranked up the gears just a touch, pressuring Konta’s serve with some hard, powerful returns and eventually the Brit succumbed for the third time in the set, leaving Kerber with the opportunity to clinch the first set on serve. She duly obliged.
Again Konta started slowly in the second set, being broken in her first service game and being on the back foot thereafter. At 3-1, Konta was broken again, and at 7-5 5-1, the game was all but over. Konta held for 5-2 to make the German serve for it, but Kerber held her nerve and dispatched the Brit after 82 minutes.
Konta’s ranking should rise to around 28th in the world due to her run this week, which will be a new career high and will also mean, should she sustain that ranking, that she will be seeded for the next Grand Slam, the French Open in June.